By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
The Cavaliers have created two new positions and overhauled their training staff, what they refer to as their “performance team,” in an effort to become more proactive instead of reactive to injuries.
Alex Moore was hired as high performance director, the team announced Friday, a position they just created. He will oversee the entire performance team, which manages the rehabilitation, physical therapy, nutrition, strength and conditioning and athletic training areas.
Yusuke Nakayama was hired as an assistant athletic trainer and given the new label performance scientist.
Steve Spiro has been promoted to head athletic trainer after serving as an assistant athletic trainer for the past three years. Spiro replaces Max Benton, who was informed shortly after last season that the Cavs were not bringing him back.
The Cavs have been hit hard by injuries to key players the last couple of seasons, which prompted the front office to begin researching every injury sustained in the NBA over the past few years, from the routine hamstring strains to the season-ending tears and ensuing surgeries.
After looking around at other injuries in other sports, they believe sports medicine across North America is behind other countries. Hence, the move to Moore, who most recently served as the United States Ski Team’s strength and conditioning coordinator for the last six years. But Moore is Australian and was schooled there, previously training Australia’s alpine and mogul ski teams.
It’s an outside-the-box hire for a franchise not opposed to looking at things differently. The role of the athletic trainer has diminished in recent years — most now tape ankles and assist in treating injuries after they occur.
Significant injuries have plagued the Cavaliers the past few years. And while no one in the organization blames Benton for the injuries to Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving and others in recent years, the Cavs’ three most talented players (Irving, Varejao and Andrew Bynum) all have a long history of injuries and the Cavs are counting on all three if they’re going to make a playoff push this season in the Eastern Conference.
Trent Redden was promoted to assistant general manager and Koby Altman to director of pro player personnel. Redden has been with the Cavs since 2006, most recently as the director of college player personnel. Altman joined the Cavs last year as pro personnel manager.
The Cavs open training camp Tuesday.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.